Fast-growing Congolese mobile operator Africell expects to upgrade its cellular networks with 3G technology before the end of 2014, BizTechAfrica reports, citing a company insider who wishes to remain anonymous. The source told the online journal: ‘I can confirm that Africell is about to offer the cheapest internet in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and therefore revolutionise internet pricing in this country.’
The source also noted that Africell has recently extended its coverage to Lubumbashi, the DRC’s second largest city, as well as Kolwezi, Likasi and Kasumbalesa (next to the Zambian border), all of which are located in the mineral-rich Katanga Province.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Africell has yet to sign interconnection agreements with its Congolese rivals – more than two years after its launch – meaning that its five million-plus subscribers are still limited to on-net calls. The continuing lack of interconnection, which has been authorised by the Autorite de Regulation des Postes et Telecom (ARPTC), was originally conceived as a punishment for Africell’s introduction of cut price tariffs, which its long-established rivals deemed unacceptably low. It now appears that the cellco intends to take a similar tack with its 3G service.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Africell paid USD15 million for a 3G licence in July 2012.